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App: Noteshelf (for iPad)

posted Jan 16, 2013, 9:30 AM by Christine Gordon   [ updated May 29, 2013, 12:36 PM ]
Here's an iPad app that I've been really impressed with that I think could help students and teachers alike, and even parents too. Basically it is a note-taking app, but it's the best I've found and I'm now using it for everything!

Here's a more in-depth review from a mom/homeschool-teacher.

In summary, the pros:

 1. Custom covers and pages! This app is so visually pleasing! You can customize all the notebook covers and the individual pages. You can make notebooks with photos from your photo library on the cover. And, you can make your own paper like planners, schedules, lined paper, journal paper, etc. 

 2. Organize your notebooks! You can organize your notebooks any way you like and this includes putting multiple notebooks together into a 'binder'. It's really quite handy. I have one for work, one for school, and one for personal things. I've been taking notes from my online classes, lesson planning and tracking my progress in the gym :) All from one app! Plus, you can copy and paste notebooks or individual pages really easily within the app. 

 3. Writer friendly! This is perhaps the most important feature. I've tried other note-taking apps on my iPad and my wrist always ends up making squiggles whenever I rest it on the screen. This app features a 'zoom in' box to let you write more naturally, and whenever you get to the end of the box, it automatically jumps down the page for you. It's very intuitive and I used it yesterday to take notes on a live speaker. I had to write quickly and it kept up with me no problem!

 4. Easy to share! You can quickly and easily send pages to Evernote, Dropbox, email, print, etc as a PDF or image. Imagine if your child does their homework on here and then you could email it directly to the teacher. A student could email his notes from class to a sick classmate to help them stay caught up. Teachers could use it as scratch paper when helping a student with, say, a math problem after school, and then email a copy directly to the student for their records! I for one am enjoying using it for lesson planning my workshops because it is so handy to move pages around and you can erase and re-write as much as you like!

The cons:

  1. No to-text feature - the only thing missing would be the ability to turn your handwriting into text. Some apps offer that, but this doesn't. That being said, it is not something I have actually felt like I needed to date. You can insert text onto the page which I have found helpful for creating forms or 

 - Get a stylus! You will definitely want to invest in a stylus! I'm actually using one from the dollar store with a squishy tip and it is great for taking notes quickly without scratching your screen or making any noise! I will be looking for one a bit bigger though because it is just a bit too skinny and short for my hand.

 - Make your own paper! It is easy to make your own covers and papers right from the iPad. First, I prefer Pages to get the basic layout - I insert lines for lined paper, or a table for a monthly calendar. Make whatever you want. Then, I take a screenshot (power button + home button) and then I open it in a sketching app. I erase the extra bits from the screenshot and then save the end result as an image. Lastly, open noteshelf and use the image you just made for custom paper. It is a bit of a multi-step process but it is quick when you get the hang of it. It is also easy to do it on your computer, especially if you are using photo stream. Save your creation as an image and upload it to photo stream so that it goes to your iPad.

**For the record, no one has asked me to write this - I just really like this app and wanted to share with others!